Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for zed

The name is the thing.

Thou whoreson zed! Thou unnecessary letter!

It is an unnecessary letter, that anomalous hard consonant end. Like Ned and Ted for Edward—superfluous, silly. No wonder Z was on its way out. If you don’t use it, just lop off the end. But sometimes even the unnecessary survives in archives and on maps. Sometimes a good paring is all that you need to thrive. Sometimes you just have to change the name.

The name is everything. Speak for five minutes and I can tell you your hometown and what your parents did for a living. Speak for ten and I can tell you your future. Speak your name and I can do both at once.

The name’s the thing. If I call it driftwood, you will not sit on it. If I call it a chair you will not break it up to burn. It’s a chopper, baby. If you cannot name it properly, we’ll never get anywhere.

Zed’s dead, baby. Long live Z.

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